JERRY McBRIDE/Durango Herald
Remember when “The Blues Brothers” took the stage at Bob’s Country Bunker where only chicken wire separated them from a roomful of violent rednecks? That’s the kind of nightmare scenario that inspired local musicians Jesse Ogle and Ashley Edwards to open iAM – short for Independent Artist Management.
“I’ve been touring for 15 years and booking venues from Boulder to Seattle, and people in other bands always ask me ‘Where should we play?’ in all these towns,” said Ogle, who also plays bass in the local band Hello Dollface. “I realized I should be doing this professionally, giving that kind of advice and support, but I only want to work with people who have the same philosophy.”
iAM puts the right band in the right setting throughout the Southwest and also provides music education close to home. iAM currently manages two-time Memphis Blues Festival semifinalist Shawn Farley; Tucson’s Copper & Congress, which will play a double bill with Hello Dollface on Thursday at The Summit; Durango’s Robby Overfield; Gravity Research of Eugene, Ore.; Disco Organica from Berkeley, Calif.; and Chris Benevides, a saxophonist from the band Giant Steps. Copper & Congress will give a hands-on workshop tonight at the iAM studios on Camino del Rio.
Katie Haverly, frontwoman for Copper & Congress, responded to an online request from Ogle for Tucson, Ariz., artists because she said he was offering exactly what her band needed.
“Jesse was looking for other artists to add to the roster, and little did we know, we used to be in the same music circles in Flagstaff 13 years ago but haven’t seen each other since,” Haverly said.
“I hate booking shows, it is awful, and I don’t think any musician would say they like booking shows. It’s nice to pass that off to someone else. Jesse’s great because he’s been doing it for a while. It’s good to have someone speaking on your behalf instead of yourself.”
Haverly related her own booking nightmare from her pre-Copper & Congress days: A friend got her low-key duo a gig at a rowdy sports bar at a ski resort in Maine.
“We had two afternoon sets in this huge bar, and there I am trying to play my pretty songs for a bunch of drunk skiers. It was the worst fit ever,” Haverly said.
The local studio is available for rehearsal and recording to local and regional professional bands. Ogle was formerly an instructor with the Stillwater Foundation. Up-and-coming musicians are welcome to hone their talents at iAM, but Ogle and Edwards won’t take just anyone for representation.
Bands or individual acts must have recorded and released at least one CD, form an LLC or other incorporation, have adequate transportation and have performed at least 50 shows. Ogle said he’s received applications from Europe and throughout the U.S.
“Most people won’t touch an artist unless they’ve broken some major headway, and we feel the same way, but there’s more to it than that, too,” Ogle said.
“We’re looking for the musician who’s talented and has a purpose, has his or her own voice. They’ve gotta be good, too, and if it’s the right fit we think we can do a lot to help each other.”